With both Hughes and Mo pitching in the day half of yesterday’s doubleheader, the Yankees had limited options in the back end of their bullpen for the night half. The best solution was to put up a crooked number, and that’s just what the Yankees did. They put up an eight spot in the third inning, and that was more than enough for A.J. Burnett and the recently recalled members of the bullpen. They took down the Rays with relative ease.

Things didn’t start out so smoothly for Burnett, and his recent struggles amplified the effect. Two doubles, one just out of Nick Swisher‘s reach, led to a run, and then Burnett infuriatingly walked the next hitter, Pat Burrell. Further frustration mounted when Burnett walked B.J. Upton, always a threat to steal a bag, to lead off the second. But from there, Burnett cruised.

Burnett had only one 1-2-3 inning, but after Longoria’s double only one Ray reached second base, and that was the result of a walk and a fielder’s choice. The Rays managed just four hits in A.J.’s six innings. They did draw three walks, but none of those runners came around to score. Most encouragingly from Burnett, he struck out eight, a sign that he had his stuff. He’ll need it as the Yankees march down the stretch into the playoffs.

In the third the Yanks would pick up all the runs they’d need for the game, and maybe tomorrow’s game, too. They plated eight runs on eight hits and two walks. Two of the hits came from Jose Molina, who had a three for three night with two walks. Mark Teixeira put the Yanks up 5-1 with a rally killing three-run shot. The Yanks were able to mount another rally, though, bringing home three more. Strangely, Derek Jeter caused two outs in the inning.

Not that it means much in the context of the game itself, but Derek Jeter failed to pick up a hit in either end of the doubleheader, and still trails Lou Gehrig by three hits. He’ll get them soon enough. It just wasn’t in the cards today — the only doubleheader in his career in which Jeter has played both ends and failed to pick up a hit in either.

Apparently Jeter lent his hitting skill to Jose Molina, who reached base five times for the first time in his career. Even stranger: Jeter was the only starter to not pickup a hit. This is even stranger still because many of the starters, Jeter included, took an early seat because of the enormous lead.

Mike Dunn combated some control issues in the ninth, issuing two walks, but he overcame it without allowing a run, closing the game and bringing the Yanks’ magic number down to a Fordian 16. The series picks up again tomorrow with Chad Gaudin taking on David Price.

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Is this lead Mike Dunn proof?

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Make sure you scroll down for tonight’s game thread.

Triple-A Scranton (7-5 loss to Rochester)
Kevin Russo: 2 for 5, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 K
Freddy Guzman & Reegie Corona: both 0 for 4, 1 K - Guzman drew a walk, stole two bases, scored a run & threw a runner out at home from LF
Austin Jackson: 2 for 2, 1 R – the two hits brought his AVG up to .300, then manager Dave Miley yanked him from the game
Doug Bernier: 1 for 2, 1 BB
John Rodriguez: 1 for 5, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 2 K
Cody Ransom: 0 for 2, 3 BB, 1 E (fielding)
Colin Curtis: 0 for 5, 2 K - finishes the year with a ~.690 OPS
Eric Duncan: 1 for 4, 3 K – threw a runner out at second from RF
Chris Stewart: 1 for 3, 2 R, 2 K
Cory Arbiso: 6 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 1 K, 9-7 GB/FB – 59 of 94 pitches were strikes (62.8%) … brought up from Charleston for the spot start on the final day of the season
Jeff Williams: 2 IP, zeroes, 1-5 GB/FB – half of his 18 pitches were strikes
Amaury Sanit: 1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 2-0 GB/FB – 8 of his 13 pitches were strikes (61.5%)

Scranton’s regular season is over. They won their fourth straight division title with an 82-59 record. Chad Jennings says their playoff rotation will be (in order) Romulo Sanchez, Ivan Nova, Kei Igawa, Zach McAllister (yes, he’s being called up), and Anthony Claggett. Their best-of-five series against Gwinnett starts on Wednesday.

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Categories : Down on the Farm
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People were actually complaining about the offense last inning.

Also, Tampa’s pen was already a wreck coming into today. They’re completely screwed the next two games, September callups or not.

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The Yanks took care of business in a very professional manner this afternoon, beating Tampa with great pitching and rock solid situational hitting. They improved to 15-0 when tied after seven innings this year, which is just ridiculous. The magic number dropped to 18 for just a few minutes, because the Red Sox lost to Chicago not long after the Yanks’ game ended. If you missed it, here’s the Johnny Damon pic we briefly had up in the Magic Number Counter, but right now we’re rockin’ Oscar Gamble.

As for tonight’s game, the story will be AJ Burnett and how he performs. The big righty has put 29 men on base and allowed 18 runs in 16.1 IP over his last three starts, so he needs to make sure he rights the ship before the playoffs start. He’s got four (maaaaaaybe five) starts left this year to figure it out. Luckily, Burnett won’t have to face the dangerous Carlos Pena, who had two fingers broken when he got hit by a pitch in the first inning of this afternoon’s game. He’s done for the year, which is a huge blow to Tampa’s already slim playoff chances.

Joe Girardi said Phil Hughes and Mariano Rivera probably aren’t available for this game after pitching earlier, so it looks like it’s up to David Robertson, Damaso Marte, Phil Coke, and Brian Bruney to take care of business tonight. Hopefully they just pound the crap out of Andy Sonnanstine and make it a moot point. Here’s the lineup:

Jeter, SS
Damon, LF
Teixeira, 1B
Matsui, DH
Swisher, RF
Cano, 2B
Melky, CF
Hairston, 3B
Molina, C

And on the mound, AJ Burnett.

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Once again, CC was great. He powered through seven innings, allowing just three hits. His only real mistake was a low fastball that caught a bit of the plate, and even then few hitters other than Evan Longoria would have deposited it in the right field seats. Another hit was a grounder that found a hole, and the final was the result of Dioner Navarro sticking out his bat head and dumping one into shallow right.

He did walk four, including Jason Bartlett twice, but none of those came back to bite him. It did hurt his K/BB ratio, though his 10 strikeouts offset some of that. Carl Crawford, Gabe Kapler, and Fernando Perez were his most frequent victims, going down twice each. Wily Aybar, Evan Longoria, and Dioner Navarro managed to avoid the 10 K machine.

Matt Garza pitched as well if not better than CC, turning this one into a bona fide pitcher’s duel. He also went seven innings, allowing five hits and one walkd but no earned runs, thanks to the first-inning error. Strangely, even though he walked just one his strikes to balls ratio wasn’t very good at all — 67 strikes to 53 balls. In any case, he got the job done.

The Yanks got two breaks which led to their first run. First, Jason Bartlett booted a Mark Teixeira grounder, which put him on first base with two outs. The other fortuity was Alex Rodriguez working the count full off Matt Garza. That allowed Teixeira to get a running start, which allowed him to score on A-Rod‘s absolute rope over Crawford’s head.

Once Garza was out of the game, the Yankees struck. Nick Swisher led off the eighth by drawing a walk, and Mark Teixeira followed that with a single to right. Rob Thompson noticed Gabe Kapler bobble the ball in right, and waved Swisher on to third. That caused a poor throw, allowing Tex to mosey into second. The aggressiveness paid off, and the Yanks were set up.

Smartly, the Rays walked Alex Rodriguez, who was 3 for 3 to that point, to load the bases. They’d rather take their chances with Robinson Cano and his anemic results with runners in scoring position. Still, Cano is not hitting .000 in those situations, so he comes through some times. This was one of them. He skied a ball to center, allowing the pinch-running Jerry Hairston to score and give the Yankees the lead.

Joe Maddon used three pitchers to record the three outs in the eighth, but they allowed three runs along the way. They all go to Cormier in the box score, but Chad Bradford did give up a hit to allow an additional runner to score. It was a team effort, and it was the difference in the game.

The Yanks bullpen, on the other hand, slammed the door. Phil Hughes got off to a shaky start by walking Carl Crawford, but got a break when he decided to make a run for it on the first pitch. The Yanks pitched out, and thanks to an accurate throw and quick tag they put Crawford back into the dugout. Hughes finished off the inning, and Mo made his return with two strikeouts in the ninth.

That takes care of Game 1 for the day. With Mo and Hughes unavailable for the nightcap, the Yanks would do well to knock around Andy Sonnanstine. A.J. Burnett will try to get back on track and bring the Yanks magic number down to 16. We’ll be back in a couple of hours.

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Let’s win this.

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I bet the Yanks are happy to not be playing on artificial concrete turf. Not that it was the only cause for their woes yesterday, but whoooboy, was that one ugly. They’ll get two chances to redeem themselves today, and with their two best pitchers on the mound, no less.

Kicking things off will be CC Sabathia. Need we even look at how incredible he’s been since the break? Well, yes. If there’s one number I’d share about CC in the second half, it’s his strikeout to walks ratio, at a nasty 6:1 (72 strikeouts to 12 walks). CC was at 5.12 last season after the trade to Milwaukee. Sometimes the term “second half player” is bandied about without much statistical backing, but it’s absolutely true of Sabathia, at least over the last two seasons.

While a win would be redemption for the Yanks’ poor play yesterday, it would also be redemption for Sabathia. His last bad start was down in Tampa, when he allowed six runs, five earned, over 5.2 innings. He’s pitched just a little better since then.

Matt Garza is amid another solid season, though he’s dropped off a bit in the second half. After heading into the All-Star Break with a 3.73 ERA, he’s pitched to a 4.58 ERA in the second half to this point, raising his overall ERA to 4.11. The raise is mostly due to a short start in Anaheim, in which he allowed four runs in 3.1 innings, and a shelling at the hands of the Tigers.

This will mark Garza’s fourth start against the Yanks this year. He’s done a fine job each time, but the Rays are 1-2 in those games. In the last one he allowed three runs over seven innings, though the Yanks should have punished him a bit more for the 11 baserunners he allowed. Maybe he’ll wave goodbye to another Robinson Cano home run today.

The Yanks made two roster moves today, recalling Shelley Duncan and activating Brett Gardner from the disabled list. Gritt Girtner gets the start in center for the first game.

Lineup:

1. Derek Jeter, SS
2. Nick Swisher, RF
3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Robinson Cano, 2B
6. Jorge Posada, C
7. Eric Hinske, DH
8. Melky Cabrera, LF
9. Brett Gardner, CF

And on the mound, number fifty-two, CC Sabathia.

Categories : Game Threads
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  • The amazingly incredible Ross Ohlendorf
    By

    Tyler Kepner penned a piece on the amazing Ross Ohlendorf, who will spend his offseason tracing diseases in livestock through devices implanted in animals for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It’s a great read, I suggest you check it out. What I want to talk about Rob Neyer’s take, which for all intents and purposes says the Pirates fleeced the Yanks in the deal that brought Ohlendorf to Pittsburgh last year.

    Look, Ohlendorf’s been real good for the Pirates this year, and Jose Tabata has enjoyed a nice resurgence in their farm system. However, let’s provide some context. Ohlie’s got a 5.57 K/9, a 4.74 FIP, and a 5.44 tRA. He’s managed to put up a 3.97 ERA in the NL Central, but wouldn’t anywhere else. FanGraphs pegs him as +0.9 WAR pitcher, which ranks 62nd out of 67 pitches with 150 IP. Brad frickin’ Penny has been a +2.3 WAR player in 23.2 fewer innings and he got his ass handed to him all season. Ohlendorf is servicable, but for the Yanks he was never going to be anything more than what he was: a longman/middle reliever and trade bait.

    Ben already looked back at the deal earlier this summer, and said if he was able to go back in time without knowing what the future held, he would have done it all over again. Remember, when the deal was made the Yanks were just two games back of a wildcard spot, Ohlendorf had been banished to the minors, and Tabata had already been disciplined twice for insubordination. It’s not like the Yankees made the move just for the sake of making it. Hindsight’s fun, isn’t it?
    · (48) ·

Record Last Week: 5-2 (42 RS, 38 RA)
Season Record: 87-50 (787 RS, 651 RA), 7.5 games up
Opponents This Week: vs. Tampa Bay (4 games), vs. Baltimore (3 games)

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